Wednesday, June 30, 2010


At times, I feel as though my RA shares similarities with the story Alice in Wonderland. Like Alice, I wake up and I wonder, have I been changed in the night? Was I the same when I got up this morning? Sometimes I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But, if I'm not the same, the next question is 'Who in the world am I?’ That is the great puzzle.

Some days, I wake up and feel that I used to be much more..."muchier." Those are the days that I feel as if I have lost my muchness. That I am Almost-Ashley. Not quite the Ashley that I once was. I feel that Almost-Ashley is falling down a rabbit hole, spiraling out of control, to find herself in a world she cannot explain. A world where nothing seems to make sense. A world where she is told to “eat this”, and “drink that”… only to be surprised with results and side effects that she did not expect. These are the days that Almost-Ashley, almost decides that living in this muddled world is impossible.

On these days, like Alice, I try to believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast. Count them. One, there is medicine that will relieve my swelling. Two, there is surgery to help my ailments. Three, I recover quickly. Four, symptoms can disappear. Five, there is a place for physical therapy. Six, I can slay the arthritis.

While my six things may not seem impossible to outsiders, peering through my looking glass, people that suffer from RA, or any other chronic condition understand that even such actions as walking, standing or sleeping can seem like impossible tasks. Everyone has their own monsters to slay. Their own symptoms and difficulties. Their own impossibilities. Because of this, every day, I try my hardest to wake up, and remember that things are only impossible if you believe they are impossible.
Every morning when I wake up, I make a conscious decision. I make the decision to either be Almost or Absolutely me. Some mornings the decision is easy, other mornings it is challenging. Some days I wake up and don’t even want to be me at all. No matter what, when I feel like it impossible to get out of bed, I do it. I was told at the onset of my RA it was impossible to competitively ride, one year ago I showed in the World Pinto Show, one of the highest levels of competition on that circuit. After surgery, I was told it was impossible to stand and walk unassisted earlier than the end of July. I was rising and walking by the beginning of June. Things are only impossible if you BELIEVE they are impossible. This is the attitude that separates Almost-Ashley from Absolutely-Ashley. Absolutely-Ashley never lets anyone, including herself, tell her anything is impossible. One step is all it takes to turn the impossible, possible. One step. One step is all it takes to reclaim your muchness.


  1. Wow - Alice In Wonderland is such a great analogy. It defintely reminds me of how I feel when I'm in the middle of a flare. But, you're right, sometimes a better frame of mind is just the cure for pulling ourselves out of that seemingly bottomless rabbit hole.

    You are an incredible woman, with incredible accomplishments under your belt - and many more to come! Keep believing in yourself!

  2. Hi Always Ashley, I have Justabout Jenni today! I loved this post today, I have got a link to my blog about it now because it is so helpful thank you.

  3. This is a great analogy. It good to know yourself and to try to visualize a better way of doing things when you are not always in control.

    I have a little something for you at my blog.

  4. Hi Ashley, thanks for having me. I made a promise to myself 10 years ago. To always get my arse from the bed to the couch or work chair no matter what condition my rapidly advancing riddled body was in. To make the promise to myself and match it each day starts me off with two things: 1. I will beat back a little bit of my disease with a small accomplishment each morning and start my day off right. 2. my husband will know something has gone astray very quickly if I don't get it out of bed. This way, he avoids asking "how do yo feel" and facing the witch under the RA hat!!

    now this may seem simplistic to some, but I hate when people ask me, "how are you feeling". Well, lets see, I FEEL horrible every single day. Now, ask me "how are you doing". I'm great, I have plans for the day and hope to achieve at 3 things on my mental list.

    Such a small thing, I know. But, it's relevant in my life. I love your post. Tazzy

  5. I love your blog!
    Have a nice time!

  6. I would like to suggest you visit and look into low dose, long term antibiotic therapy.

    There is also a book you can read on the subject. "The New Arthritis Breakthrough, Including Dr. Brown's classic, The Road Back by Henry Scammell"

    I can't offer much in the way of info, since I am new to it myself, but I sure wish someone would've told me about it years ago.

    I do have 2 artificial hips, so I am aware of the advanced destruction of RA. I just wanted to share the info for your consideration.

    Take care,

  7. Absolutely Ashley - what a dynamic, amazing woman you are. you are an inspiration to me and many others.

    Check out my blog as well...perhaps we can inspire each other to never ever give up or give in to this nasty disease. It ain't easy...but with support, anything is possible.

    Healing hugs, Alicia